Top Teachers

Saturday, June 7, 1997

Name: Sylvia Kaizuka
Age: 50
Position: Resource teacher
Education: University of Hawaii-Manoa
Pastimes: Whatever her children are doing

Launching girls into science

If Newton's third law could be applied to people, then for every action Sylvia Kaizuka puts into her teaching, there is an opposite and equal reaction that shows in the success of her students.

Nowhere is this more clear than at Benjamin Parker School, where Kaizuka is the teacher whom second- through sixth-

graders come to for their weekly dose of math, science and technology. Kaizuka guides students from the severely handicapped to the academically gifted and talented. Her current teaching equation has a special component: getting girls interested in science.

"I try to excite them about science in their elementary years so maybe they'll carry it on with them," Kaizuka said. "I say things to them like, 'When you're at the launch pad, I'll be there to see you off.'"

Ever since her days as a student at Niu Valley Intermediate and Kalani High School, Kaizuka has been interested in science, particularly rocketry.

Last month, the American Association of University Women granted Kaizuka $4,700 for a hands-on summer science program for girls.

"She is an excellent role model for her students," said Arnold Feldman, an associate professor of physics at the University of Hawaii-Manoa who knows Kaizuka from a science workshop. "She combines professional excellence and achievement with successful family responsibility."

Mary Sano, Special to the Star-Bulletin

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